Students huff and puff their way to exam centres as CUET unrolls, breathe easy seeing questions

Many students in Delhi said the stress of writing the CUET exam was compounded by the last-minute change of centres and the sultry weather.

Students huff and puff their way to exam centres as CUET unrolls, breathe easy seeing questions CUET 2022 (Representational Image: Shutterstock)
Press Trust of India | Jul 15, 2022 - 10:29 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: Nancy Verma (18) barely slept last night. She was to write an exam in the morning -- the first-ever Common University Entrance Test (CUET) -- that would decide the college she gets for the undergraduate courses. Her anxiety, she says, was less about the exam itself, and more about how she would reach the centre. "I got to know about the centre very late yesterday," Verma said. "If I had known about the examination centre earlier, I would have made some other arrangements."

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Many students in the national capital said the stress of writing the first-ever CUET paper, with no previous years' question bank to prepare with and nothing really to deduce a pattern, was compounded by the last-minute change of centres and the sultry weather. "I don't check my e-mail usually but I am thankful that I checked it yesterday because there was a mail from the NTA (National Testing Agency) informing about the change of centre from Dwarka to North Campus Delhi University," said Kanishka (17), who wants to pursue BA (political science) from Delhi University's Miranda House.

The CUET exam is being conducted in two phases -- Phase 1 in July, Phase 2 in August. Candidates who have opted for Physics, Chemistry or Biology have been assigned to Phase 2 of the CUET exam, given that NEET (UG) - 2022 will be held on July 17. The UGC chief had in March announced that CUET scores, and not Class 12 marks, would be mandatory for admission to 45 central universities which can fix their minimum eligibility criteria. The first set of CUET-UG papers, the gateway for undergraduate admissions in all central universities, began at 9 am Friday at centres across more than 510 cities in India and abroad.

Nancy Verma said reaching the examination centre in Janakpuri from her home in Badarpur felt more arduous a task than writing the paper itself. "I slept very late at night because of the fear of missing the examination and I was also nervous about the examination. I had to wake up at 5:30. I left home by 6:30 am." she said. She then had to hop-on-hop-off different modes of transport to reach the centre. "I first took an auto to the metro station and boarded a metro from Sarai for Janakpuri. The metro journey itself was 1.5 hrs. Then I took an e-rickshaw for the examination centre. I reached the centre in time by 8:15 am Maharaja Surajmal Institute of Technology in Janakpuri," she added. Nancy said if she had known about her examination centre earlier she would have planned it better. "I was more fearful about the journey than the actual exam. I was already exhausted when i reached the centre." Several students said the authorities should have made the admit card available earlier, and ensure centre allotment was done properly. "I feel the arrangement could have been better. The admit card could have been made available a few days ahead of the exam and the centre should have been allocated near to the students' homes. The weather is very hot. There is no metro connectivity to the place where I live. So, we took an auto till the bus stand and then boarded a bus. By the time I reached the examination. I was drenched in the sweat," said Kamya, who came to the centre from Sarita Vihar.

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Many students missed the paper due to the last-minute changes -- the NTA has announced they will get a second chance in the next phase -- but those could attend were happy with the paper. "I think her exam went well," said Rakesh Kumar (42), heaving a sigh of relief on seeing his daughter Akanksha (17) coming out of the centre at the Maharaja Surajmal Institute of Technology. Akanksha, who wants to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Delhi University, said, "I was getting stressed out in vain. It was easy. Everything was what we have studied so far." Most other students say the exams were not that difficult and nothing was "out of syllabus". There were no big technical glitches as well, barring a few small ones. "We have been worried about children for several days as we also did not know what kind of exam will come. Moreover, there was a lot of confusion around the examination. Admit card too came very late. Finally, we can take rest," said Praveen Kumar, whose son Kamal appeared for CUET at Maharaja Surajmal Institute of Technology.

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Kamal took three tests -- physical education, political science and general test. Kamal said the general test was a little time taking otherwise the rest was easy. "Everything was from what we had studied in Class XI and XII," he said. Yashmita (18) who wrote the papers for four subjects -- Home Science, History, Hindi and English -- found the exam "quite easy". "It was hassle-free," she said. "There were no such technical glitches. However, at one point in time, the server went down but it recovered a few minutes later." She wants to pursue BA Hons from Delhi University. "We did not know about the pattern of the examination. Now others will get to know from us about the examination pattern," said Kanishka.

With 14.9 lakh registrations, the CUET is now the second largest entrance exam in the country, surpassing JEE-Main's average registration of nine lakh. Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the CUET is a step in right direction and any remaining challenge in the exam will be resolved at the earliest.

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